Black & Decker Rebranding Case Study

Ahhhh….rebranding. I’ve said it once, i’ll say it a thousand times; NOTHING gets my little designer’s heart buzzing like a good lookin’ rebrand. Case study for today? The Black & Decker Rebranding adventure of 2014. For those of you in the design know this is not a new development. Black & Decker unveiled their new look several years ago  to a decent amount of controversy. Back then I took notice and devoured every blog article I could on the subject. “If I ever need tools, I’ll buy these” I thought, and left it at that. Fast forward 2 years and I now have first hand experience with the actual product because I have actually purchased it.

Black & Decker Rebranding
Original logo on the left, redesign on the right.

We all know Black & Decker; the brand is synonymous with power tools for the everyday consumer. Visions of black and orange in a hardware store automatically mean “Black & Decker” to most Americans.

First things first; I am not a heavy tool user (gee, what a surprise), I wrinkle my nose at the very idea of purchasing tools as 1: They are ugly 2: They’re friggin’ tools.  I much prefer spending my money on artisan teas and cupcakes (Yes, I’m one of -those- designers). Needless to say I am the person who reaches for the multi colored hammer, the neon tape measure, and the vintage metal Craftsman toolbox not because its more practical but because it “looks cooler”.

Enter my new apartment. I purchased a piece of furniture which unfortunately did not have pre-drilled pilot holes. What’s a gal to do!? I marched down to the store to grab a drill and came face to face with a wall of Black & Decker.

Ah yes, there was Black & Decker semi-freshly redesigned,  poised and slick…looking quite the metrosexual amongst the sea of burly tough-guys in overalls and greasy handkerchiefs. If I was one of the cute pink tools in my toolbox, i’d want to go out with him.

Black & Decker Rebranding
Original design left, rebrand on the right. Join me in catcallin’ this handsome fella.

Choices? I had plenty but I went with the B&D.  Why?  1: Brand recognition  (I don’t know a thing about tools, so great brand recognition is important to an ignoramus such as myself) and 2: LOOK AT IT. (Hi, I’m a marketing designer, I worship at the shrine of Good Branding)

While the previous B&D brand was not necessarily horrible, it was certainly not visually striking. Stylish? Pfffft. Beautiful?  *cough* Not in the least, but it served it’s purpose as conventional tool packaging; bright colors, gratuitous use of gradients and more photos than are necessary. Ah, but there is the new B&D, wonderfully simple, and wonderfully…dare I say it, hipster? Well, sure, I can see that.

It appears to me the Black & Decker is attempting to appeal to a new demographic of tool users, the hipsters, the DiYers…you know the type, the people who live in coffee shops or craft beer breweries dreaming of ways to build the coolest reclaimed wood bookshelf for their used bookstore finds or the coolest LP storage cabinet. The people who appreciate minimalist design, bold shapes and a clean aesthetic. You know, people like ME! The stylish jerks who hate the jarring look of everyday consumer products but we need them and therefore, want them to look good in our tiny apartments.

Has the tool giant lost its appeal for it’s typical demographic on account of the facelift? Absolutely not. Black & Decker has become such a household name that its loyal customer base may not think twice. Chances are, the average person won’t even care about aesthetics because in the grand scheme of things, the only thing that truly matters is the quality of the product. However, the potential to reel in a huge untapped market (i.e those of us who CARE about how pretty our consumer goods are) must have been an A-HA moment for the marketing team over at Black & Decker. With Instagram and Pinterest permeating our modern lives, many millennials are pulling inspiration from social media outlets and are rolling up our flannel sleeves, ordering  large single origin cold brew coffees and DRILLING STUFF!  We want our tools too look as good as our Instagram photos so it would only make sense that we would reach for the brand that looks as good as we (think) we do. Right? Makes perfect sense to me! To prove my point, here is an instagram worthy shot of my new drill. #DiY #CoolTool #NotYourGrandpasBlack&Decker


Looking forward to putting together my furniture while proudly wielding the coolest, metro-sexiest drill that ever graced the tool aisle. Nice job on making your tools more appealing than the other guys, Black and Decker!

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